Advent Reflections – December 14, 2015

Willing to Make Sacrifices for Others: In Church Tradition

In late November, our family participated in a new ritual that our parish began at the end of October. Each week, a family is bringing home a special crucifix and promises to pray together each day, in the presence of this crucifix, for vocations, especially vocations to military chaplaincy. It is sitting on my kitchen table from where we prayed with it last night at dinner, watching over me as I write this post.

If I felt I needed to do research or seek inspiration for this post, I need not look farther than across the table. There, waiting for me and you with open arms, is Jesus, forsaken and crucified. Here is God, the creator and savior of the universe, who is greater than anything we can conceive of, subject to human cruelty, torture, pain and anguish. For what? For what purpose could God, who operates outside of time and space, enter into the finite world as a baby, born of simple origins, to live a simple life and to die an unwarranted painful death?

Love.

jesus-753063_1920For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17

This is really what we are waiting for, what we are preparing for. Yes, we are waiting for Jesus to come as a babe. But we would be missing the point if we did not connect cradle with cross. One of my favorite Advent songs is called “Wood of the Cradle.” This is the last line of the refrain:

Kneel at the manger and rise from the grave.

Jesus gives us the ultimate example of self-sacrificing love. What is one way you can unite yourself with Jesus Crucified today?

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